An F/A-18E Super Hornet lands on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) on Aug. 14. (MC3 Preston Paglinawan / US Navy)
WASHINGTON — American warplanes have bombed Islamist militants in northern Iraq near the Mosul dam, the US military’s Central Command said on Thursday, in the latest air attack on the extremists.
“US military forces continued to attack ISIL (Islamic State) terrorists in support of Iraqi Security Force operations, using fighter and attack aircraft to conduct six airstrikes in the vicinity of the Mosul Dam,” it said in a statement.
The air raids were carried out over the last 24 hours, a US defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
The air attacks come after President Barack Obama called for decisive international action against the “cancer” of jihadist extremism in Iraq and Syria.
The latest strikes destroyed or damaged three Humvee armored vehicles, another vehicle, and “multiple” homemade bomb “emplacements,” Central Command said.
The US military has conducted 90 airstrikes in Iraq since Aug. 8, including the latest bombing raids. Of those 90 operations, 57 have been in support of Iraqi government forces near the Mosul dam, it said.
Obama approved the air raids amid rising alarm over the threat posed by the Islamist militants who have seized territory to the north and west of Baghdad.
The air raids coincided with global outrage over the gruesome execution of American reporter James Foley by the Islamic State jihadists, which was revealed in a video Tuesday.
US officials acknowledged that American special forces had tried this summer to rescue Foley and other US hostages but the bid failed.
Obama on Wednesday said the Islamist extremists had to be defeated.
“We will be vigilant and we will be relentless ... From governments and peoples across the Middle East, there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so it does not spread.”